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How Women’s Economic Empowerment Energizes Political Participation

By Joanne Lu

Zipporah

Zipporah, 23, who goes by “Zippy,” didn’t believe she had much of a future in Kenya. After receiving financial training and being connected to a business mentor, Zippy has become a leader in her youth group, as well as a savvy entrepreneur with two clothing shops and a cybercafe. She now sees herself as someone who can effect change in her community, and she says she intends to run for local office in the next election. Photo: Corinna Robbins / Mercy Corps.

Last November, American women made history when a record number of women won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. This was not just a win for women. Research shows that when women have decision-making power, communities as a whole benefit.

Yet in many developing countries around the world, women struggle to even have a voice in their own homes. However, global development practitioners are finding that when women have more economic freedom, they often also gain voice and agency at the household level, community level and even beyond. Read More


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